Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Life Gets in the Way of These Things, Don't It?

Wow. Almost a full month since I last posted. Sorry about that.

MMmmm.

Curry. Japanese curry. Best served with some white long grain rice, well washed and cooked in a steamer.

Easy Japanese Curry
Ingredients:
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1 tbsp veg oil
1 to 1.5 lbs stew meat, or cubed steak
3 carrots, peeled and chopped to a uniform size
2 or 3 medium potatoes, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
3-4 Cups boiling water
1 - 3.5oz pkg of Japanese curry block (like S&B Golden Curry, or Vermont Curry by House Foods)

1. Heat a pan on med-high heat with the oil in it until the oil gets runny. Add in the diced onion and garlic, stir until they are starting to turn golden.
2. Add in the stew meat or cubed steak, and stir-fry until the meat is mostly cooked through.

Crock Pot Method:
3. Take the meat out of the pan using tongs, and get up some of the onions and garlic as well, and place in the bottom of 3-4 qt crock pot.
4. Add in the potatoes, carrots, and water, turn on heat to high.
5. Dissolve the curry blocks in the hot water. Stir well to mix all the ingredients. Leave crock pot on high for 2-3 hours, then turn down to low for additional 3-4 hours.
6. Remove lid from crock pot for at least the last hour to allow the sauce to thicken.

Wok Method (stove top):
3. Add in the potatoes, carrots and water.
4. Dissolve curry blocks in the water. Stir well to mix. Cook on low simmer until sauce thickens and veggies are done, usually about 1-2 hours. Skim fat from top if needed.
5. This will also work if covered.

Both Methods:
* Serve over your favorite white rice, eat with spoons!
_______________________________________________

One of the traditional ways to eat this dish in Japan is to cook the curry the night before, allow it to reheat in the morning, then pack it off in lunches. This allows the flavors to fully meld together. It's a little easier to send them off this way in Japan, as they have specialty thermos that have two compartments - one for the dish and one for the rice. I usually pack up all the leftovers in ziplock containers, already mixed (with the rice underneath the curry, and plenty of sauce). They make great lunches, and are so filling!

Oh! Kitchen crew alert for this recipe: Clean the curry pan while it's still warm! Dried curry sauce is so hard to get off, but, if something prevents you from getting to it quickly, fill it with water and heat the pan up again. It's very helpful for getting cruddy pans clean without needing to scrub at them forever. (I do this most often with whatever I made mashed potatoes in. The starch from those takes forever to get off!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Calm Pie; More butter, Less Nutmeg!

Ah, Girl Genius. A webcomic that I follow with some small level of devotion... I'm like an Agatha of the Kitchen.

Made a Lemon Meringue Pie tonight. They are a lot of work. I used (in part) the recipe from "Desserts By the Yard" by Sherry Yard. She's Wolfgang Puck's dessert chef. Wow! In reading through her mini auto-biographies at the beginning of each new section, I'm amazed at how much it has convinced me I do not want to become a chef. Late nights, early mornings, and always running at top speed, timing everything to be just right. Some of it made me tired just reading it!

Lemon Meringue Pie
(no photos, kids, the camera broke!)

Set the oven to 375 degrees.

1 - 9 or 10 inch pre-baked pie shell

filling:
4 cold large eggs +
4 cold large egg yolks
1 Cup white sugar
1 lemon's lemon zest
1 Cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 oz (1/2 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 thick slices

1. In a (non-reactive) double boiler, start water heating to boil in the bottom half, and whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and zest, until a single consistency emerges.

2. Put top half over boiling water, being sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the top pan, and whisk for 2-3 minutes, being sure to stir at the sides.

3. Slowly stream in the juices, whisking all the while, for another 5-10 minutes, until the mixture is pale yellow and creamy, about the consistency of sour cream, and pulls away from the side of the pan.

4. Remove from the heat, and, continuing mixing, add in the pieces of butter, one by one, whisking until they are completely incorporated.

5. Pour into pre-baked shell and set aside.

Meringue
(I'm shamelessly cribbing the meringue recipe from Ms. Yard, its just too yummy)
1 1/4 Cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons water
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar

1. Start the egg whites in a stand mixer, beating them on medium.

2. When they get foamy, add in 1 Tbsp of the sugar and the cream of tartar. Once the mixture starts to show a little more resistance, add in the other two tbsp of sugar.

3. In a medium heavy saucepan, mix the water and brown sugar, stirring the whole time, until the mixture boils. Insert a candy thermometer, and when the syrup reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit (between thread and soft ball stage), remove it from the heat.

4. By this time, the egg white mixture should be at soft peaks, and you can slowly drizzle the syrup into the pan, on medium speed. Sherry Yard recommends pouring near the sides of the bowl, and avoiding pouring it over the beaters.

5. When all the syrup mixture is in the eggs, turn off the mixer, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on to high, and let it beat the eggs until thy are stiff, glossy and cool.

Assembly
1. Spoon or pipe the meringue over the filling (I recommend piping, it just seems to work better). Pile the meringue high up, being sure to 'seal' the edges of the pie filling with the crust, using the meringue.

2. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm. (Or, let it cool, and keep it in the fridge for a few days. Not too long, the meringue will get all funny.)

(for a more caramelized looking meringue, use a creme brulee torch after baking.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies - My Baking Staple


These cookies are the ones I've made for years and years. I love making them, and lots of people have complimented my recipe. Imagine my shock, when I was going through an old box of collectible Betty Crocker recipe cards, there was my prized recipe!

So, I figure my best recipe isn't really any sort of a family secret, so, it goes up here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
3 cups (380g) All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Table Salt
1 cup (220g) Granulated Sugar
1 cup (180g) Brown Sugar, packed
2/3 cup (150g) Unsalted Butter
2/3 cup (125g) Veg. Shortening
2 Eggs
2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 - 12 oz bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees Faranheight.
Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
*
Mix the sugar, brown sugar, butter and shortening in a bowl.
Beat in the eggs and add in the vanilla.
*
Add in the flour mixture a little at a time until its all used up, stirring well between each addition. Add in the chocolate chips and stir well.
*
Take spoonfuls of the dough, and put it about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.
Place two pans in the oven, for 6 minutes.
Then rotate the pans, up-and-down, and front-to-back, and bake for another 5 minutes.
*
Take the pans out of the oven and place on a cooling rack.
Enjoy!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Beginnings

Ok, so.

I have no idea how often I will update this, but hopefully I will have at least a weekly go at it.

I intend this to be my food blog, and my personal food interests include Asian cuisine, desserts, canning/freezing(and the gardening that goes along with it), parties, and dinners (mostly beef dishes). I'll revisit this in a year, and see how my tastes have changed.

I read, on a regular basis:
Chow Times
Lily's Wai Sek Hong
use real butter
The Kitchen Witch

Yay for food blogs.

I've recently tried this fabulous recipe for lemon ice cream from urb. It is fabulous in flavor, tho I may have used too much lemon zest, or had a mixing issue, for we ended up with "lemon zest clots" in the ice cream.

It was a wonderful finish, however to the nice pot roast kinda thing I made for dinner, however.
A real simple sorta thing, I got a butt roast, stabbed a few holes in it on the fatty layer, then poked some garlic cloves and fresh rosemary into it, then stuck in a 350 degree oven for about an hour. Made gravy off of the drippings and mashed up some potatoes. Trimmed the fatty layer off, and served, sliced thick, with gravy over everything. Mmmm.

Usually I'd avoid making such a heavy dinner in the middle of summer, but here on Lake Michigan, between Chicago, IL and Milwaukee, WI, its been a cool last couple of weeks. It has been a cool summer over all, and I just hope that we don't get too early of a frost, or I'm not going to get ANY tomatoes! (They even said it has been the coolest July since 1923! Wow!)

I think that's it for now. Hmm, I hope I remember that I have this up!